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Poster: Jack o' Roses Date: Mar 28, 2013 6:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1984: A Year In Review Project (Update)

4/13/84 has my favorite Scarlet Fire that I ever saw; I agree about 4/14 (EXCEPT for the peaks: standouts of Touch>Playing>Terrapin & Dew; Let It Grow wasn't bad either).

The overall energy of the first night was superior; the peaks & valleys were more extreme the second night.

Thanks for the 1984 effort; I really enjoyed the shows that I saw that year, & I'm sure that I will enjoy your other reviews just as I did this one....

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Mar 28, 2013 9:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1984: A Year In Review Project (Update)

Concur - 4/14 was almost hard to listen to. The valleys were so low it took really strong versions of follow on songs to pull out. The jangly keys in Let It Grow ruined what was otherwise a well played song for me. Playin, Terrapin and Dew were fantastic - subject to being framed by where the band was in the mid 80s. Here's the write up for the show.

8. 4/14/84 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA

http://archive.org/details/gd1984-04-14.sbd.walker.scotton.miller.105836.flac16

a. Feel Like A Stranger* – Good start. Funky version – don’t know if Jerry is using an envelope filter or not, but the horn sound to his guitar makes this song work. Keys are borderline jangly and bright, but in the background enough that they don’t color the tune.
b. They Love each Other – I take back my earlier comment about the keys - way too tinkly. The jangly bright sound dominates and not in a good way.
c. C.C. Rider* – Thankfully, we are back to the B3 keys. For now. Of course, some pea brain thinks that adding vocal echoes to Bobby is a good idea. What a jackwagon. At least Jerry’s guitar licks sound really good.
d. Brown Eyed Women – Can’t get myself past the tinkly keys and those horrendous chimey thingies. Again, great guitar licks by Jerry get run over by nasty jangly, tinkly over bright things. Jer’s vocals do sound strong for the most part – like the growly sound.
e. My Brother Esau – B3 and cowbell. Why only on this tune? It sounds pretty good. Phil is more in the forefront of the mix and sounds good. Still hear some slight vocal echoes – they add nothing to the song.
f. Tennessee Jed – Just when I thought I was getting used to tinkly keys, they come along and overwhelm a song. There must be a very distinct level at which “subdued tinkly keys” works and one tenth of a decibel more it doesn’t.
g. Let It Grow – Another well played song just about ruined by jangly, over bright keys. This would have been a stand out tune for the show, but I just can’t put it in that category. It’s like some horrible insect is lurking in the background chirping away. Waiting to suck your soul out. Like it sucked the soul out of the music.
h. Touch of Grey – Not bad, but nothing special about this version. At least the tinkly keys were somewhat muted by the frenetic pace.
i. Playin’ in the Band* – Boom! Out of the blocks fast – maybe the boys sucked down a couple of 5 hour energy shots at set break. Definitely an 80s sound and pace. Enjoyed this one – especially after a slow train wreck of a first set.
j. Terrapin Station* – Sounds a little rusty. Jerry’s vocals are strained but I think it adds to the plaintiveness of the tune. A perfect example of tinkly keys being low in the mix and the result is a very listenable version. Every now and then the chimes resonate with a borderline unpleasant tone, but it is thankfully short enough to not be too distracting. Certainly not on par with the earlier “big” versions, but overall well played.
k. I Don’t Need Love – I liked the first version played on 3/28/84 better, but this wasn’t bad for a full on “Brent tune”.
l. Drums – Probably would have made me run to the D/S pee break to get back. Some interesting things going on here.
m. Space – See Drums.
n. Morning Dew* – Had the compressed feel that seems to characterize this year, but still a nice rendition. As in Terrapin, Jerry’s voice took on a thin, tired quality that very much added to the song. Oh yeah, the echo vocals don’t work for Jerry any more than they did for Bobby so any time you want to stop, you may. May. May. Jer’s guitar work into the end was good – not as huge and clean as some of the signature versions (5/8/77) but they capture his accumulated age and wear. Ended kind of clunky, but still a good listen. Nice little OMSN head fake teaser before Throwing Stones.
o. Throwing Stones – Still trying to figure this tune out. Subdued tinkly keys are nice but someone needs to stab the chimey echoey insect thing in the heart. I’m not ready for Jerry vs. Predator.
p. One More Saturday Night – Standard fare. Seemed rushed.
q. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue* – Nicely played. Better to finish a mediocre show with a well done tune than the other way around. Please kill the Predator before the next show.

What a difference a night makes. This show was far inferior to 4/13/84.

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Mar 28, 2013 10:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: tinkly keyboards

That is the big problem with listening to Healy SBD's, they almost always over accetuate the keyboards and under emphasize Jerry. I could list off just about every Healy board and they all have that same issue - Jerry played really loud and Brent didn't, so the house mix balanced it out - either that or Healy was an asshat and intentionally mixed Jerry low so that the recordings would be worthless.

A classic example is the 7/28/82 show. In the AUD Jerry is way on top of everybody else - gloriously - and Brent is just barely audible. The SBD is worthless as Jerry is all the way at the bottom and Brent is all the way at the top. Another is the 7/15/84 Greek show, Was Jerry even there at all on the SBD recording or was that Brents band at the time. Either Healy was a complete dip-squat or he needed to do this to balance the house sound and the SBDs were never intended to be used as a picture of what acrually happened at the show...or a little of both.

The vocal echo thing was just stupid, only on Estimated Prophet was it entertaining.

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Mar 28, 2013 11:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

LS -

Thanks for the insight. I think I am going to go back and randomly sample other sources on a handful of shows.

I guess I wasn't entirely clear about the keys. I just don't like the sound Brent is known for. The carnival calliope, flourishes and tinkly, bell like runs - they simply have no appeal to me. And I think that at any level in the mix they would be annoying.

But, they did start to grow on me some and that might be a function of source. So, now that you have necessarily complicated my effort, I look forward to seeing how it falls out over the rest of the year. I'm going to try 4/14 with a different source since it was almost exclusively the keys that made this show sound "bad". Honestly, I'll be thrilled to find out that that isn't the case.

I was listening to parts of two shows last night at home which got this response from Mrs. Mando....."Didn't we just listen to that?"

I answered with, "No, they were played on different days."

It was not received well and I was banned to my headphones for the rest of the night.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 28, 2013 12:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

Brent Mydland's keyboards (and vocals) were the single biggest reason why eighties Grateful Dead and I divorced on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. One day perhaps we can go back to being just good friends, but it'll take a major readjustment that in all honesty I'm just not ready for.


Oh yes, headphone ban - brother, I so relate!

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Mar 28, 2013 1:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

that's exactly how I felt when I started, but surprisingly they became tolerable a lot quicker than I thought they would.

Little Sense made a great point about SBD vs House mix that has me going back to relisten to a sampling of shows to see if that changes anything.

Thus far, I'd fell pretty good about recommending you try out 4/13, 4/16 and 4/7 (in that order) to see if anything resonates.

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Poster: cosmicharIie Date: Mar 28, 2013 1:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

tinkly keyboards thread, right? I'm not a big fan of the occasional circus/carnival organ sound that TC played. But his Darkstars were great

i think thatBrent, being a troubled soul, brought a lot a soul to the sound of the dead, unless he was melting at the greek...I like A Little Light and 500,000 tons...go figure. But his tinkle parts? Maybe *someone can remaster him lower in the mix

doesn'tt one of the GD laws say "Even a bad shows can sound better if your high enough" look forward to the review of 5/8 :)

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Mar 28, 2013 2:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

I found that a bad show actually caused me pain if I was "high enough"...for a long time afterward.

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Poster: Skobud Date: Mar 28, 2013 11:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

Dude - I thought it was just me with the Healy Keyboard thing. I think the levels are waay too high on many of the actual sbd recording(s). Ive compared aud's of shows where I thought that the keys were too high and It did not seem nearly as bad live compared to the sbd recording through headphones.

The esteemed Mr. Miller does the same thing imo. I hate it when Brents levels are so high that they stomp all over everyone else's playing. Just a pet peeve and a main reason I shyed away from the early 80's early on.

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Mar 28, 2013 11:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

Charlie is just remastering the Healy Boards...garbage in garbage out, not much he could do about the levels on a 2-track recording, especially when the two instruments in question reside in the same sonic neighborhood...ie multi band compression is not going to help. You can add some Phil or remove some cymbal wash, but you can't really separate the keys from the guitar.

The really satisfying Healy boards are few and far between.

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Poster: Skobud Date: Mar 28, 2013 12:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

Agreed, good point about the remastering.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 28, 2013 1:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

It's true that no one can help the levels on the 2-tracks now, it's barely possible to remix them.
Healy was just recording the straight PA mix, which had to balance the house sound, so you're right that if Jerry was loud & Brent not so loud onstage, then we're going to get the reverse on the tapes. Unfortunately! (If only there was a way to mix Brent out...)

So it's not that Healy was intentionally mixing Jerry low, I just don't think he put any effort into what went on tape. (And I figure from that, the band wasn't checking the tapes anymore either.) The earlier SBD recordings were specifically mixed for tape, to be listened to.

One thing Weir constantly complained about was that Healy always lowered his guitar levels in the PA. It may account for the disappearing-Weir effect on many '80s tapes.
Then there's the disappearing-Phil we get around '82...I don't know whether this is a mix thing (& Phil was really loud onstage) or if, like many people say, it reflects Phil's loss of interest around that time.

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Mar 28, 2013 1:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

Not to mention the drums... they sound like sneakers rolling around in the dryer. No presence in the cymbals. So we end up with loud vocals, over-present Brent, and not much else. No wonder I don't listen to much 80s ...

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Mar 28, 2013 2:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

uj -

Check out the Cassidy from 4/16. It's funny you mention "no cymbals". I noticed more cymbal, less skin from Mickey and Billy and jotted it down thinking it might be an artifact from the source tape. Funny that you should mention it - I think you will be pleasantly surprised if you give it a shot.

http://archive.org/details/gd84-04-16.neumann.1298.sbeok.shnf

Track something or other..........

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Mar 28, 2013 2:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

Re Wier, Again the AUD tapes don't seem to have this problem. I was just listening to an AUD from the '83 Lake Placid show and Bobby is very high in the mix, but not so in the SBD.

So maybe Bobby was listening to the SBDs as there was no way he could hear the PA mix from his seat.

Phil was either in or out in the early 80's. When he was in it was gonna be a good night - all the best early 80's shows have significant Phil contributions. He did start using that huge Meyer sound rig early in the 80's, so maybe his stage volume was an issue as well.

Drums...too much kick drum in one ear or the other, if balanced its survivable, but if one over powers the other it makes me tip over. One of my biggest complaints regarding SBDs...after the consistent lack of Jerry. .

Brent used to play this very high pitched drone behind a lot of the open jamming, this could be missed by many due to high end hearing loss, but I wonder if they used that as a drone the way Indian music uses a drone to keep everybody in key. I can't think of an example off the top of my head right now, but I'll find one and see if you hear what I'm talking about. Its easy to eliminate as it is almost at dog whistle frequency.

I don't complain about Brent as he was most likely told what to play...and it seemed like they wanted something completely different from what they had (Keith)...so he probably was told to use the electronica, I doubt they would have put up with it if they didn't like it. Have any of the surviving members ever bitched about Brent's playing? Or his singing? I've heard complaints about Vince, but not Brent - other than the substance abuse and train wreck personal life.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 28, 2013 6:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: tinkly keyboards

Lemieux was saying in his recent chat that there was one '84 show he wanted to release, but the kick drum was just too loud; or another one, Weir couldn't be heard. He said he wants to release a mid-'80s show, but these mix problems make it impossible. (Seems to me he's being pretty picky, though...)

As far as Brent - I don't think they told him what to play, except as far as teaching him song structure. (Like in the '79 rehearsal tape, they go over some parts.)
He said in one interview, "They told me, 'Don't worry about playing anything you've heard before from Keith, that's not what we want; just play what you feel, be yourself, and think of dynamics.' So on some songs I cop the theme of Keith's keyboards, but otherwise I just play my own stuff."

I agree that the band must have liked what Brent added. I don't remember seeing any complaints, far from it.